I am going to build a A-frame swing set with 4x4s and am wondering about one thing. When I read most of the tutorials, the swing set sits directly on the ground. Is it ok for the water introsuion? Even if the lumbers are rot-resistent, I know that, for deck building or shed building, it is advised that the structure is off the ground with the piers or the posts are buried, being surrounded by the cement.

Because it is related to the safety issue, I thought I might need to clarify this before taking an action.

  • 1
    Almost all backyard swing sets are placed directly on the soil. Concrete piers invite fall injuries. If you use cedar, the wood should last for a long time (probably decades). I would avoid pressure treated since kids ingest what they touch.
    – bib
    May 13, 2016 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


Typically it's suggested that A-frame play sets be firmly anchored in the ground to prevent tipover. A couple vigorous kids can impart enough force to tip a structure. Longevity takes a back seat to safety here.

Use lumber that's decay-resistant (I wouldn't have concerns about the new breed of pressure treated lumber), and either bury it sufficiently or weight it with concrete. Concrete should be below ground level to allow for softer material above.

  • I agree they quit using arsenic 10 or 12 years ago and use copper now for treated wood. Since much water is piped in copper it is probably safe. PT no longer requires MSDS or safety data sheets. And A frames do need to be anchored or buried. +
    – Ed Beal
    May 13, 2016 at 19:35

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